Chapter 173 – Ice Fire Demonic Tiger
Lush foliage monopolized this viridian world, the differences between the intermediate and elementary levels minute but Tang Wulin was still aware they existed.
It was highly likely he would encounter thousand-year soul beasts in the intermediate level. There was even a small chance of encountering powerful ten-thousand-year soul beasts!
Wu Zhangkong stood beside him, his white robes fluttering from the cold aura he emanated as he observed their surroundings. Tang Wulin was filled with a sense of security with Wu Zhangkong beside him.
“Follow me!” Wu Zhangkong strode forward. A ring of light rose with each step. Yellow, yellow, purple, purple, black, and black.
It wasn’t Tang Wulin’s first time seeing Wu Zhangkong’s soul rings. Nonetheless, he was still shaken. This is an expert! I wonder how long it will take me to reach six rings…
A blue light coalesced in Wu Zhangkong’s right hand and transformed into the Skyfrost Sword. His actions clearly indicated how seriously he regarded the intermediate level.
Only those with less than seven rings could enter the intermediate level.
Tang Wulin followed behind him silently. Ten minutes later, they still hadn’t encountered any soul beasts.
“Don’t you find this strange? Why aren’t there any soul beasts?” Wu Zhangkong asked Tang Wulin.
“Yeah!” Tang Wulin nodded. From his experiences in the elementary spirit ascension platform, he knew that they should have been attacked by now.
Wu Zhangkong indifferently said, “The spirit ascension platform is modeled after the largest soul beast forest on the continent, the Great Star Dou Forest. In the past, there were Ten Great Beasts, the strongest soul beasts in the world. All ten beasts exceeded one-hundred-thousand-years in age, and the Great Star Dou Forest was actually home to five of them.”
“The Great Star Dou Forest is divided into four regions. The outer region, middle region, inner region and the territory of the Great Beasts. When battle armor was introduced thousands of years ago, humanity’s strength exploded and we began to suppress soul beasts. Yet even though we’re developing and using most of the forest now, the territories of the Great Beasts remain untouched. I’ve have never been there, but I heard that after some powerful Battle Armor Masters ventured into their territory, they have never returned. Those territories are one of the few forbidden regions on this continent.”
“Soul beasts surpassing one-hundred-thousand-years in age can take on a human appearance so if we send too many Battle Armor Masters to attack them, it is likely they will abandon their territories and wage guerilla warfare throughout the continent. We have a mutual understanding with those beasts now; as long as we don’t enter their territory, they won’t attack humanity.”
Tang Wulin’s brows knitted. “Teacher Wu, what about the soul beasts in the other regions then?”
Wu Zhangkong said, “Soul beasts have almost all been exterminated by humanity after all these years. This is one of the reasons why the Spirit Pagoda possesses such great status. Artificial spirit souls are the only option gain soul rings for most Soul Masters now, and natural spirit souls are near impossible to obtain. Without any soul beasts to kill, soul rings can no longer be obtained directly.”
Tang Wulin asked, “Then are soul beasts becoming extinct?”
A sigh escaped from Wu Zhangkong’s lips. “It is certain that as soul technology continues to develop, soul beasts will eventually be extinct. Yet, this isn’t necessarily a good thing for humanity. It’s true that battle armor can greatly increase a Soul Master’s strength, but compared to the Soul Masters of the past, we are truly lacking in terms of soul rings. Soul skills provided by artificial spirit souls are different from those given by soul beasts. Furthermore, there is no doubt that their extinction will bring about an ecological imbalance. According to the research, the number of people who possess soul power when they awaken their martial souls has dwindled over the last several hundred years. I suspect that once soul beasts disappear, Soul Masters will soon follow. That is the price for destroying the ecological equilibrium.”
“Now, back to the topic. Entering the elementary spirit ascension platform is similar to entering the outer region of the Great Star Dou Forest. The outer region is filled with ordinary soul beasts that reach the thousand-year level at most. Here in the middle region, however, the forest has thousand-year soul beasts, and even some at the ten-thousand-year level. With soul beasts of such power present now, the forest is definitely split up into territories, so there is a lower density of soul beasts. It’s normal that we haven’t run into one yet, but if we do encounter one…”
Wu Zhangkong abruptly stopped mid-sentence and his gaze sharpened. An icy draft swept out as he pointed with his Skyfrost Sword.
A deep roar reverberated through the air, announcing the arrival of a soul beast, a tiger that stood over one and a half meters in height and over six meters from head to tail.
Purple stripes stood out in sharp relief against its bronzed fur. Its eyes were dual-coloured, frosty blue and fiery red. Its bizarre appearance was completed with a pair of blue and red wings on its back.
“It seems our luck isn’t that good today. This Ice Fire Demonic Tiger is at least four-thousand-years in age. It’s no wonder no other beasts roam this territory. Just focus on protecting yourself and ignore the rest. Got it?” Wu Zhangkong had twisted his body slightly towards Tang Wulin, but his eyes never left the tiger.
Ice Fire Demonic Tiger? Tang Wulin recalled the records he had read on it. It wasn’t as fierce as the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear, but it was on the same level as the Man-Faced Demon Spider.
It excelled in both long-ranged and close-ranged attacks and could control ice and fire. It could also fly short distances with its wings. This fearsome combination placed it as one of the most fearsome beasts. There was a peculiar legend attached to the tiger; it was said that once killed, it would provide two soul rings, one of ice and one of fire.
Of course, in the spirit ascension platform it couldn’t provide any rings, but still, encountering such a fearsome beast had broadened Tang Wulin’s horizons once more.
Wu Zhangkong’s gaze never left the tiger as it spread its wings open and circled them, growing closer with every pass. With each step, its wings of fire and ice flared brighter, as if foreboding the eminent devastating attack.
Wu Zhangkong stood still, simply turning so that he always faced the tiger.
Tang Wulin had already released several strands of Bluesilver Grass and attached them to nearby trees. The moment the situation took a turn for the worst, he would be able to launch himself out of there.
An overpowering odor assailed Tang Wulin as the distance closed between the two parties.
He wasn’t the same ignorant boy when he first entered the spirit ascension platform; faced with a thousand-year soul beast now, it wasn’t fear that overwhelmed him, but excitement.
He obviously understood just how powerful the thousand-year Ice Fire Demonic Tiger was and knew that he was no match against it, but he didn’t have to worry about that. His safety was assured, so he could whole-heartedly observe just how strong this tiger was.